Scaling Robotic Displays: Visual and Multimodal Options for Navigation by Dismounted Soldiers

Report No. ARL-TR-4708
Authors: Elizabeth S. Redden, Rodger A. Pettitt, Christian B. Carstens, Linda R. Elliott, and Dave Rudnick
Date/Pages: January 2009; 58 pages
Abstract: This study investigates the impact of three types of navigation map displays on navigation performance, using Soldiers from the Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, GA. After training to use the TALON Robot system, each Soldier completed navigation exercises using three navigation display configurations: a 6.5 in. split screen display with a driving display on top and a map display on bottom, allowing simultaneous or near simultaneous viewing; a 3.5 in. display in which the Soldier could toggle between the driving and map displays; and a multimodal 3.5 in. display using a tactile belt that transmitted directional information to the Soldier concurrently with the driving camera display (Soldiers could also toggle to the map display to determine TALONs specific location). The terrain, targets, and hazards were counterbalanced to control for the effect of learning. Display configuration and usability for robotic driving were evaluated based on objective performance data, data collector observations, and Soldier questionnaires. Findings indicated that Soldiers navigated equally effectively using the multimodal 3.5 in. and 6.5 in. split screen displays. Their performance with both the multimodal and split screen displays was better than with the 3.5 in. display that required toggling between the driving and map displays.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: January 1, 2009